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Kindergartners learn to sign "Happy Birthday" for school's hard of hearing custodian

Last Updated Oct 25, 2018 12:30 AM EDT

Kindergartners in a Tennessee elementary school learned "Happy Birthday" in sign language to surprise their hard of hearing custodian on his 60th birthday. The song was caught on video — and so was the man's heartwarming reaction.

James Anthony, or Mr. James as he is known at school, has "been a part of Hickerson Elementary's family" in Tullahoma, Tennessee, for 15 years, school nurse Angela Ridner told CBS News. Anthony turned 60 Tuesday and the school wanted to give the dedicated man a very special surprise. And surprise him they did.

The school's kindergarten classes learned how to sign "Happy Birthday," with the help from their teachers Mrs. Allyssa Hartsfield and Mrs. Amy Hershman, teacher's aide Shelly Lucas and Ridner.

In a heartwarming video posted to the school's Facebook page, Anthony is seen walking into a room where a group of young children, and a few adults, begin to sign, and sing, "Happy Birthday" to him. Anthony immediately exclaims and smiles. His grin keeps getting wider as the kids finish their performance.

Local station WZTV reports the custodian said the students' gesture "touched his heart."

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Custodian James Anthony reacts to the group of kindergarteners signing "Happy Birthday" to him.

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